NIA Case: Defence Lawyers Grills Witness With Questions

By Halimatou Ceesay

Defence lawyers defending the Nine defunct NIA former Top officials in the Solo Sandeng Murder Trial today 15th May, 2018 took turns to slam the 15th Prosecution witness Alhajie Bara Gaye with questions in their bid to discredit his evidence-in-chief before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Banjul High Court.

Late Solo Sandeng

In cross examining him, the counsel for the 1st accused person Yankuba Badjie, C.E. Mene, said Mbemba Camara could not have identify the body of Solo Sandeng to him (the witness) when he (Mbemba) did not know who it was at that point.

Witness replied saying, “Mbemba told me that the person lying down was Solo Sandeng.”

”The vehicle that was used to carry the dead body, was it an NIA vehicle?” counsel asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“How soon after you closed the door that you found a dead body lying on the floor and the crowd?” Counsel asked.

“It is between the time I open and close the door,” he said.

“The time you saw the dead body was it before 9pm?” Counsel asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“The gate you opened and closed for the black pajero, what’s the distance between that gate and the gate house?” Counsel asked.

“It is just like from where I am standing and the door of the courtroom,” witness said.

“From the gate can you easily hear the sound of the crowd from the gate house?” Counsel asked.

“If there is anything to hear, you will hear it,” witness said.

“I am putting it to you that it will not take you 5mins to close the gate and returned to the gate house considering the distance,” counsel said.

“It depends on how I do my job, whether slowly or fast,” witness said.

“I am putting it to you that on that day it does not take you less than 5mins to open and close the gate,” counsel said.

“5mins is too much,” witness said.

“From the gate you can see the crowd at the gate house,” counsel said.

“If it is during the day, yes but at night I cannot see,” witness said.

“I am putting it to you that on that day people could see the gate house from the gate,” counsel said.

“I was seeing from the gate,” witness said.

“How many doors did the gate house have?” Counsel asked.

“It has three doors, one in front, middle and back doors,” said witness.

Responding to questions from 2nd accused person’s Lawyer, P. Gomez, witness was asked. ”Have you meet the late Solo Sandeng before the 14th April, 2016?”

“I have never seen him,” witness said.

“Have you meet Solo Sandeng before 14th April, 2016 alive?” Counsel asked.

“No,” he said.

“You said earlier that you were told by Mbemba Camara that what you saw lying down was Solo Sandeng?” Counsel asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Apart from what you have been told you couldn’t have any other means of confirming that it was Solo Sandeng?” Counsel asked.

‘Yes,” he said.

“It is only logical that you only rely on what you were allegedly told?” Counsel asked.

“Yes,” he said.

Responding to questions from counsel for 3rd accused I. Jallow, the witness was asked, “You told the court that you use your phone to call Mbemba Camara?”

“Yes,” he said.

“How long does it take Mbemba to arrive?” Counsel asked.

“He came briefly,” he said.

“Was there any other person with you when Mbemba arrives?” Counsel asked.

“No,” he said.

Also cross examining the witness was the counsel for the 9th accused Dayoh Dago and he asked the witness “how long have you known the 9th accused Lamin Lang Sanyang?”

“When I started working at NIA,” he said.

“At the NIA do you know the accused person’s job?” Counsel asked.
“I was informed that he was our doctor,” he said.

“What time did you saw the 9th accused at the NIA?” Counsel asked.

“I cannot remember the time. It was at night,” he said.

“I am putting it to you that the 9th accused does not come there at night,” counsel said.

“Do you know Seedy Saidyba?” Counsel asked.

“Yes,” witness said.

“Do you know that he gave evidence in this court?” Counsel asked.

“I am not aware,” witness said.

“When you saw Lamin Lang Sanyang, what was he doing?” Counsel asked.

“He came and informed me of a corpse lying down,” he said.

“Did he inform you who the corpse was?” Counsel asked.

“No,” he said.

“I am putting it to you that Lamin Lang Sanyang never informs you about a corpse lying down,” counsel said.

“He never told me that there is a corpse lying down,” he said.

The accused persons namely Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Baboucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

They are standing trial on twenty-five charges ranging from Murder, causing grievous harm, accessory, conspiracy to commit felony, fraudulently preparing a death certificate, forgery, making document without authority, fabricating evidence, disobedience to statutory and abducting.

Hearing continues.

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